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“What are you doing!”

Jin Qingyan pulled her forcefully towards the corridor and questioned her with a menacing glare, “What were you and Gu Beicheng up to at this hour?”

“It’s not that late yet. Besides, must I report whatever I did with him to you?”

“Of course, I’m your superior here! Your request to leave will not be valid if it’s approved only by Chen Xu,” he snapped, glowering at her.

“What do you want now?”

“I’m asking you, what were you two up to?” he continued to ask.

“Why must I tell you?”

Jin Qingyan grabbed her wrist tightly and pulled her into his car.

An Xiaoning felt a sharp pain in her wrist as soon as he let go. He had grabbed her with so much force that her wrist felt like it was almost going to break.

“Jin Qingyan, you’re being outrageous and unreasonable!”

“So what if I am? Did you forget my words? I said I was going to woo you all over again,” Jin Qingyan reiterated.

“I refuse to accept you. Did you forget what I said too? I said that I’ll never step foot into your home ever again the moment I decided to leave.”

“An Xiaoning!” Jin Qingyan roared in an uncontrollable rage.

An Xiaoning shuddered in shock at his sudden outburst, for she had never seen him so exasperated before. “I can hear you, you don’t have to be so loud.”

“Have you fallen for Gu Beicheng?”

“If I said I have, will you stop pestering me from now on?” she asked, keeping her eyes fixed on him.

“No. I will kill him if you’ve fallen for him.”

“You’re nuts.” An Xiaoning felt like she could no longer communicate with him; he was still being so unreasonable and overboard although they were already divorced.

An Xiaoning pushed the door open and tried to get out of the car, only to find that he had locked her in her seat.

“Are you in love with Gu Beicheng?” Jin Qingyan asked again, finally firing the burning question on his mind.

“I only see him as my elder brother…”

“I knew it,” said Jin Qingyan as he pulled her into his arms as soon as she finished speaking.

“Why do you have to ask again then?” An Xiaoning hissed as she struggled to break free from his embrace, but to no avail.

“I just wanted to be sure,” said Jin Qingyan as he proceeded to recline her seat all the way down, after which he took the chance to pin her beneath himself. All of a sudden, his initial fury turned into joy.

“Jin Qingyan, you better know your limits and not go overboard. Hurry and get off me before I lose my temper,” An Xiaoning warned.

“Go ahead then, I’m not getting off anyway.”

What a time to still be so brazen!

“Are you really that insistent on having nobody else but me? It’s not like you can’t live without me, is it?” said An Xiaoning, trying to spite him as she knew that he would definitely deny it, given how arrogant he was.

Contrary to her expectations, he said, “Yes, I can’t live without you, indeed.”

“Jin Qingyan… are you possessed by a spirit?”

Slightly startled, he continued to stare at her in the dim yellow light.

“Could it… really be that case?”

“You would’ve been able to tell right away if I was really possessed. Did you forget you were a psychic medium and fortune-teller?” he said softly.

“But you’re different from others, I can’t read your fortune. I might not be able to tell even if you were really possessed,” An Xiaoning retorted.

He lowered his head slowly to look down at her, leaving only inches between their faces.

“I’m not possessed. I’m Jin Qingyan. Xiaoning, come back to me, will you?”

“No.”

“…”

Without warning, Jin Qingyan pressed his lips against hers, overwhelmed with euphoria. It had simply been too long since he’d last kissed her.

Almost suffocating, An Xiaoning bit down on his lips in a moment of pique, causing him to wince in pain. Their mouths were filled with the metallic taste of blood.

“Jin Qingyan, are you really that shameless?” An Xiaoning looked at him with teary eyes and exclaimed, “How many times have I said that we’re already divorced? We’re divorced! Divorced! Why are you still acting like this with me!?!”

“You matter more to me than my pride.”

An Xiaoning felt a lump form in her throat. She used to wish for the day that he would fall in love with her. Yet, the tables have turned. “It’s too late now.”

“It’s not. This is only the beginning for us,” said Jin Qingyan as he caressed her hair affectionately.

“Then tell me, how are you going to make me have faith in you again now that I’ve already given up on you!?! Everyone is selfish. You weren’t there for me when I needed you most. In that case, I won’t need you ever again in the future. Jin Qingyan, stop being like this. Life still goes on no matter who you lose. If I can do it, you can too. Let me go and let yourself go,” said An Xiaoning, tears flowing from her eyes like a tap.

“Have you ever had feelings for me?”

“Of course,” An Xiaoning admitted.

He got off her and returned to his seat while An Xiaoning sat up slowly. They then continued to sit there in silence.

An Xiaoning thought he would be manly enough to agree to let her go. To her surprise, he burst into laughter.

She could not comprehend his reaction.

“What are you smiling about?”

“Xiaoning, as much as your heart is already dead, I’ll make you rekindle your feelings for me. One day, I will make you love me as much as I love you.” He then unlocked the car door and said, “Go back.”

An Xiaoning alighted from the car and said to him while standing before the car window, “I hope that day never comes.”

“No, it will.” He then revved up the engine and drove off.

An Xiaoning returned to her room, feeling more vexed than ever. She stood before the basin and stared at her reflection in the mirror, only to notice how swollen her lips had gotten. Clearly, Jin Qingyan had kissed her forcefully with all his might.

She laid down in bed after washing her face, unable to calm herself down or get a grip on her emotions.

“Sis, where did Mr. Gu bring you?” asked Mei Yangyang, craning her neck from the second layer of the bunk bed.

“Parachuting.”

“Oh… it’s already so dark outside now, yet you still went parachuting?” Mei Yangyang asked in astonishment.

“Yeah, I was forced to. I’m tired, I’m going to bed,” An Xiaoning answered, covering herself with the duvet.

“Goodnight.”

——

Wearing a surgical mask to cover her face, Chi Rui’er arrived at Dongpo District in broad daylight. She parked the car in front of An Xiaoning’s clothing store and began walking towards the entrance slowly.

Zhang Li had gone out to buy breakfast, leaving Xu Jingwen to tend to the store alone.

Upon the sight of Chi Rui’er’s arrival, Xu Jingwen hurriedly greeted, “Hello, pretty lady, feel free to have a look.”

Chi Rui’er proceeded to take a look around the store. She had made a trip there precisely because she knew An Xiaoning was not around.

She had long heard about the plethora of fashionable clothing sold at affordable prices available at An Xiaoning’s clothing store. She finally had the chance to have a look for herself. Indeed, the clothing sold were pleasant yet not too pricey.

“Bring this down and let me have a look,” Chi Rui’er instructed, pointing at an oversized jacket.

“Alright.” Xu Jingwen brought the jacket down with a hook and removed the hanger before handing the jacket to her. “This is a newly arrived piece. It’ll look great on you, have a look.”

Chi Rui’er removed her coat slowly and put on the oversized jacket before taking a look in the mirror. Indeed, it looked pretty good on her.

“How much is it?”

“570 dollars.”

Chi Rui’er proceeded to buy a few more pieces without hesitation. After processing the payment, Xu Jingwen packed the clothes into a bag and handed it to her smilingly. “Thank you and have a nice day.”